Comment Nationally Recognized Jurists And Business Representatives Focus On Legal Reform At December New York City Meeting

Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 01:00

Barry Bauman
LCJ Executive

Today, "corporate America" is challenged by an extremely aggressive
plaintiff's bar that seeks every advantage in litigation. Charles Matthews,
Vice President and General Counsel of Exxon Mobil Corporation
will be joined by corporate leaders and nationally recognized
jurists in addressing some of these challenges as part of the upcoming
December 12-13 Lawyers for Civil Justice New York Membership Meeting.
Although the entire program is only slightly more than one full day, the
program presents a unique opportunity for corporate and defense counsel to
assess legal reform progress and to advance key civil justice reform initiatives
nationwide. Outstanding guest speakers in addition to Mr. Matthews will examine
their own role in shaping the American legal system. Here are some of the
anticipated highlights:

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht will lead the opening session
with a panel discussion focusing on improving expert evidence in state courts.
Following its nationwide survey of practitioners, LCJ identified a list of
priority states where amending the evidence rules to properly regulate the
admission of expert and scientific evidence is possible. Many state courts have
ignored, misapplied or overlooked the strict standards for admission of expert,
scientific, and technical evidence laid down by the U.S. Supreme Court in three
cases - Daubert, Kumho, and Joiner (the " Daubert trilogy")
and recently codified by federal rule amendments. Judge Hecht will provide his
perspective of how rules admitting expert evidence are working in Texas and how
they might be improved there and in other states.

The LCJ expert evidence panel will review the significant progress which has
been made since the inception of the program and examine the prospects for
reform in key states. Following this panel, William Ide, Chair of the ABA
Task Force on Attorney Client Privilege,
will lead a panel discussion on
protecting the Attorney Client Privilege. He will examine the erosion of this
privilege and what steps must be taken by LCJ and other organizations to
preserve it.

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron Steele will be the featured
Monday evening dinner speaker. His perspective on what is needed to create a
level litigation playing field is important since a U.S. Chamber of Commerce
survey ranked Delaware as the number one civil court system in the country for
four years straight.

As the December 13th breakfast speaker, John Hofmeister, President and CEO
of Shell Oil Compan y
will share his own message about the
need for business to get seriously involved in civil justice reform if the U.S.
is to be competitive in the global economy. The two substantive areas on which
he will focus are enhancing jury service (e.g., Jury Patriotism Act and juror
compensation with very limited exemptions) and judicial selection and

Judge Lee Rosenthal will review how far federal judges
have advanced in addressing the increased costs and burdens associated with
discovery of electronic information. As chair of the Federal Judicial
Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules,
she was perhaps
the central force in promoting and shaping new policies on e-discovery proposals
which were recently forwarded to the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration and
which will likely be enacted into law before year's end. Her perspective on
e-discovery and other possible federal rules initiatives will enable LCJ members
to "look ahead" and plan for next year.

The LCJ program will conclude with a fascinating roundtable on the growing
pervasive "networking between plaintiffs' lawyers and state attorneys general."
Former attorneys general from New Jersey, Maine and Pennsylvania will
examine the growing influence of AG's in not only determining the litigation
priorities of their states but in shaping public policies which guide them.

Although LCJ is a membership organization, corporate counsel from the New
York City area are encouraged to attend. CLE accreditation is pending for New
York. (Last year 6 CLE credits were extended to participants.) To register and
for more information: contact Lawyers for Civil Justice (202/429-0045) or
contact Barry Bauman, Executive Director of LCJ at href="" target=_new>